Nancy L Van Devanter


Nancy L Van Devanter headshot

Nancy L Van Devanter

Professor Emerita

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Nancy L Van Devanter's additional information

Nancy L. Van Devanter, PhD, is a professor at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Since the 1990s, she has conducted behavioral intervention research integrating a community-based participatory research approach into the development and testing of theory-driven interventions to promote health and reduce disease in populations with significant health disparities in HIV, STDs, and tobacco-related disease. She has also worked in close collaboration with state and local health departments to develop programs improve community-level health and public health practice. Since coming to NYU, she has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborative studies with the NYU School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health Program.

She received a PhD from Columbia University School of Public Health, MPH from Harvard School of Public Health, and EdM from Boston University.


PhD - Columbia University School of Public Health (1992)
MPH - Harvard School of Public Health (1985)
EdM - Boston University (1975)
BS - Boston University (1974)
Diploma - St Agnes School of Nursing (1964)


American Nurses Association
American Public Health Association
American Sociological Association
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
Public Health Association of New York City

Faculty Honors Awards

Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2011)
Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
Fellowship in STD Prevention Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1999)
Public Health Achievement Award, New York City Department of Health/ Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1999)
Commendation, Office the Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services for contribution to the National AIDS Education Prevention Program (1998)


Effectiveness of a Multicomponent Strategy for Implementing Guidelines for Treating Tobacco Use in Vietnam Commune Health Centers

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Implementation Facilitators and Challenges of a Place-Based Intervention to Reduce Health Disparities in Harlem Through Community Activation and Mobilization

VanDevanter, N., Zhong, L., Dannefer, R., Manyindo, N., Walker, S., Otero, V., Smith, K., Keita, R., Thorpe, L., Drackett, E., Seidl, L., Brown-Dudley, L., Earle, K., & Islam, N. (2022). Frontiers in Public Health, 10. 10.3389/fpubh.2022.689942
Background: To address significant health inequities experienced by residents of public housing in East and Central Harlem compared to other New Yorkers, NYC Department of Health and Mental Health (DOHMH) collaborated with community and academic organizations and the New York City Housing Authority to develop a place-based initiative to address chronic diseases in five housing developments, including a community activation and mobilization component led by community health organizers (CHOs). Purpose: Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), we evaluated the initial implementation of the community activation and mobilization component to systematically investigate factors that could influence the successful implementation of the intervention. Methods: Nineteen in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of CHOs, community members and leaders, collaborating agencies and DOHMH staff. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and themes and codes were developed to identify theoretically important concepts of the CFIR and emergent analytic patterns. Results: Findings identified important facilitators to implementation: positive community perception of the program, CHO engagement and responsiveness to community needs, CHO norms and values and adaptability of DOHMH and CHOs to community needs. Challenges included the instability of the program in the first year, limited ability to address housing related issues, concerns about long term funding, competing community priorities, low expectations by the community for the program, time and labor intensity to build trust within the community, and the dual roles of CHOs as community advocates and DOHMH employees. Conclusions: Findings will guide future community activation and mobilization activities. The study demonstrates the value of integrating implementation science and health equity frameworks.

Dominican Provider Attitudes Towards HPV Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening and, Current Challenges to Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Dominican Republic: a Mixed Methods Study

Liebermann, E., Van Devanter, N., Frías Gúzman, N., Hammer, M. J., & Ompad, D. (2021). Journal of Cancer Education, 36(6), 1170-1185. 10.1007/s13187-020-01746-w
Creating effective programs for cervical cancer prevention is essential to avoid premature deaths from cervical cancer. The Dominican Republic has persistently high rates of cervical cancer, despite the availability of Pap smear screening. This study explored Dominican provider attitudes towards human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and current challenges to effective cervical cancer prevention. In this Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR)–driven mixed methods study, we conducted in-depth interviews (N = 21) and surveys (N = 202) with Dominican providers in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces regarding their perspectives on barriers to cervical cancer prevention and their knowledge and attitudes towards HPV testing as an alternative to Pap smear. Providers believed the main barrier to cervical cancer prevention was lack of cervical cancer awareness and resulting inadequate population screening coverage. Providers felt that Pap smear was widely available to women in the Dominican Republic and were unsure how a change to HPV testing for screening would address gaps in current cervical cancer screening programs. A subset of providers felt HPV testing offered important advantages for early detection of cervical cancer and were in favor of more widespread use. Cost of the HPV test and target age for screening with HPV testing were the main barriers to acceptability. Providers had limited knowledge of HPV testing as a screening test. The group was divided in terms of the potential impact of a change in screening test in addressing barriers to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic. Findings may inform interventions to disseminate global evidence-based recommendations for cervical cancer screening.

Dominican Provider Practices for Cervical Cancer Screening in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata Provinces

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The psychosocial impact on frontline nurses of caring for patients with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic in New York City

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Psychosocial resilience: Challenges and facilitators for nurses from four New York City hospitals responding to the first wave of COVID-19, spring 2020: Qualitative findings from a mixed-methods study

Devanter, N. V., Raveis, V. H., Kovner, C., Glassman, K., Yu, G., & Ridge, L. J. (2021). Journal of Emergency Management, 19(9), 147-158. 10.5055/jem.0619
Frontline workers are at great risk of significant mental health challenges as a result of responding to large-scale disasters. We conducted a mixed-methods study to identify the challenges experienced and the resources nurses drew upon during this first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 in New York City (NYC). The qualitative data presented here are on 591 nurse participants in the qualitative arm of the study. Responses to qualitative questions were reviewed by one of the investigators to identify emerging themes. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (guided by the Resilience Theory) and inductive approaches to analysis. Challenges identi fied by nurses included concerns about well-being and health risk; mental health symptoms such as depres sion, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping; fears about the ability to care for patients with severe life-threatening symptoms; and home-work challenges such as risk to family and friends; and lack of availability of institutional resources, particularly, personal protec tive equipment (PPE). Facilitators of resilience were institutional resources and support available; social support from coworkers, friends, and family; and positive professional identity. Recommendations for promoting resilience in future disaster/pandemic responses included clarification of disaster-related professional responsibilities, integration of disaster preparedness into professional education, and engage ment of nurses/frontline workers in preparation plan ning for disasters.

Attributes of High-Performing Small Practices in a Guideline Implementation: A Multiple-Case Study

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Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in the Dominican Republic: Perspectives of Focus Group Participants in the Santo Domingo Area

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Parent-Level Barriers and Facilitators to HPV Vaccine Implementation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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A qualitative assessment of factors influencing implementation and sustainability of evidence-based tobacco use treatment in Vietnam health centers

VanDevanter, N., Vu, M., Nguyen, A., Nguyen, T., Van Minh, H., Nguyen, N. T., & Shelley, D. R. (2020). Implementation Science, 15(1). 10.1186/s13012-020-01035-6
Background: Effective strategies are needed to increase implementation and sustainability of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) in public health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (VQuit) found that a multicomponent implementation strategy was effective in increasing provider adherence to TDT guidelines in commune health center (CHCs) in Vietnam. In this paper, we present findings from a post-implementation qualitative assessment of factors influencing effective implementation and program sustainability. Methods: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 52) with 13 CHC medical directors (i.e., physicians), 25 CHC health care providers (e.g., nurses), and 14 village health workers (VHWs) in 13 study sites. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research) and inductive approaches to analysis. Results: Facilitators of effective implementing of TDT included training and point-of-service tools (e.g., desktop chart with prompts for offering brief counseling) that increased knowledge and self-efficacy, patient demand for TDT, and a referral system, available in arm 2, which reduced the provider burden by shifting more intensive cessation counseling to a trained VHW. The primary challenges to sustainability were competing priorities that are driven by the Ministry of Health and may result in fewer resources for TDT compared with other health programs. However, providers and VHWs suggested several options for adapting the intervention and implementation strategies to address challenges and increasing engagement of local government committees and other sectors to sustain gains. Conclusion: Our findings offer insights into how a multicomponent implementation strategy influenced changes in the delivery of evidence-based TDT. In addition, the results illustrate the dynamic interplay between barriers and facilitators for sustaining TDT at the policy and community/practice level, particularly in the context of centralized public health systems like Vietnam’s. Sustaining gains in practice improvement and clinical outcomes will require strategies that include ongoing engagement with policymakers and other stakeholders at the national and local level, and planning for adaptations and subsequent resource allocations in order to meet the World Health Organization’s goals promoting access to effective treatment for all tobacco users.